Our first session wasn’t until 9am, so I set my alarm for 7.20am to give me time to get ready and have some breakfast. At 6.30am they put the incredibly bright lights on, that made the eye mask useless anyway.
The bathroom is very much like swimming pool type ones. A bit skanky with pools of water everywhere, and you just want to be in your own nice clean bathroom! The sink and toilet were blocked. Yuck. I should actually report that. But I probably won’t as nurses are a rare breed around here.
Breakfast consisted of cold, hard toast and cereal, but I felt incredibly sick anyway. After that we had a stretch class which is a very gentle class to try and help get our joints moving.
Straight after that I had a session with my Occupational Therapist. She discussed any adaptations/gadgets I need that may help, and talked about my work situation. She said she could write a letter of support for me. She also referred me for Arts and Crafts sessions, a ‘kitchen’ session to look at gadgets that can help there, and finally gardening. It’s not something I’m particularly interested in, but it’s something to do!
Back at the ward, a nurse came up to me and asked me if anyone had measured my leg length. I said said no, why? She said she would do it. She went and got a tape measure, and I asked again why. She chatted away, but still no real answer.
Later on she bought me over some support things, to help with pain/stopping clots while I’m in here. They look horrendous. I put on my longest pair of trousers to cover them up! They are quite uncomfortable.
Lunch this time was ham salad, which was really nice. I then had free time until 2pm when I had a physio session, so I got some sleep.
They seem to be very slapdash with medication. Some didn’t get any, and I got mine at random times – which I then hoard until I should take them! We all have a drawer of our medication which they keep locked. Yesterday a nurse forgot to lock mine, so I’ve been keeping it quiet so I can just take mine as and when.
I was just leaving for Physio, when the desperate man rushes into my ward, asking me if I could get him numbers for Chinese and Indian Food. I wrote down four, just in case, as he looked like he would cry if they couldn’t deliver!
I then have my first physio session. I’ve been assigned a trainee who watches my sessions. I find it a bit annoying. She does something, gets it wrong, and is then corrected again by the physio, Rachel. Rachel’s very nice, better than other physiotherapists I’ve had. She assesses me and decide which are the weakest areas we will work on. The main ones are lower back, shoulders and balance.
Annoyingly, after this session my pain is set off – particularly in my lower back and shoulder. I’m up-to-date on every painkiller, so there isn’t a lot I can do.
A bit later on I find the girl opposite me in the ward in tears. She had just had an arts and craft session, and the person running it had spent the whole time criticising her posture, and making her stand up and down to get it right. She was upset by the experience and left in pain.
One thing the whole programme emphasises is that they don’t want to make pain worse. In physio – they don’t want you to push through pain; they want you to stop before it gets there. I am very surprised at this ladies behaviour, and ask my ward mate if she wants to make a complaint. She says she doesn’t, but later on I hear her mumble ‘horrible woman’ to herself. I do wonder what exactly happened. The lady in question had done our welcome talk and was outwardly friendly, but I do remember getting a vibe from her that I didn’t want her to be my therapist. I am now worried about my own arts and craft sessions!
It’s all drama later on when a girl on the ward with bad shoulder problems is getting into bed and hits her shoulder against a table. She was in tears, while everyone rushed around her. The Health Care Assistant (HCA) came rushing in and helped her to take her sling off to see the damage. It was visibly dislocated. She was in so much pain at this point it was making me cry.
The HCA went to find the nurse, who came back to say her dislocation plan hadn’t been sent over, and the doctor hadn’t come over to prescribe her painkillers despite them having been phoning him constantly for two days. So while she would normally have something very strong on hand while she waited for it to be put back in, she had nothing. The nurse kind of stopped there, as if to say so what can we do.
I got quite annoyed and said they could in no way expect her to wait all night with a dislocated shoulder. She said she would try and get hold of the on-call doctor. TRY!
We all started causing a fuss, and she upgraded it to an emergency call out. Two eventually came, pumped her full of all sorts, as well as gas and air. We all had to listen to her scream as they put it back in. She was incredibly brave, and spent the rest of her evening swaying on the spot, stoned out on all sorts.
I had a much, much better night sleep. It was quieter and darker, and the night nurse got the hint!